European Track Championships round-up

France top the medal table on home soil

The 2016 European Track Championships drew to a conclusion on Sunday, with France topping the medal table after five days of racing on home soil at the Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines velodrome on the outskirts of Paris.

Sylvain Chavanel, 37, used his experience to lead a young squad in the team pursuit but left Thomas Denis (19), Corentin Ermenault (20), Florian Maitre (20), and Benjamin Thomas (21) to bring home the gold in the final against Italy on Saturday. The bronze medal went to Great Britain, who were without any of the riders who won the Olympic title in Rio this summer.

Ermenault went on to claim the individual pursuit title, narrowly beating the current world champion Filippo Ganna (Italy) in the gold-medal ride with a time of 4:18.778. Quentin Lafargue then claimed France's third gold as he clocked 1:00.685 in the kilometre time trial, beating Germany's Eric Engler and the Czech Republic's Tomas Babek.

France finished with three gold medals, one silver, and three bronze, with Russia also taking home three golds – but only one silver and one bronze – to finish second on the medal table. Great Britain won the most medals – tied on eight with the Netherlands – but they were only good enough for third on the table due to their lower count of two golds.

The British squad bore little resemblance to the one that once again dominated at the Olympic Games, but it was Katie Archibald, a team pursuit champion in Rio, who earned both golds. She wasn't part of the bronze-winning team in that discipline here but earned her third consecutive European title in the individual pursuit before winning the Omnium.

"I thought I was destined for failure because I'd been working at a lot slower pace in training," she said of her pursuit rides. "I guess I must still be benefitting from my Olympic form but I'm also pretty well rested."

Archibald won the Omnium, dominated in recent years by her teammate Laura Trottt, ahead of Kirsten Wild, who went some way to shaking off the disappointment of missing out on the world title on the road in Qatar with a successful week on the boards. On top of that silver medal, she won gold in the elimination race and the points race as well as bronze in the scratch race. Her haul amounted to half of the Dutch medal count.

Firsts

The Championships were the first to showcase the new racing formats introduced recently as part of sweeping changes to the track cycling programme.

Along with minor changes to the qualifying rounds of some events and the regulations of the keirin, an elite women's Madison was held for the first time, and the Omnium was raced in its new format of four non-timed, mass-start events.

Belgium's Jolien D'hoore and Lotte Kopecky made history by becoming the first-ever international women's Madison champions. They didn't take a lap but beat the Great Britain duo of Emily Kay and Emily Nelson courtesy of superior placings across the sprints. 

In the revamped Omnium, reduced from six events to four without the time trial and pursuit events, Spain's Albert Torres triumphed on the men's side while Archibald won the women's title. Torres didn't make a convincing start, finishing 11th in the opening scratch race, but came back to win the tempo race. Fourth place in the elimination race still left him with work to do in the points race, which still carries significant important at the end of proceedings, and he day gained a lap on all but one of the field to finish the Omnium on 126 points - three ahead of Gael Suter (Switzerland) and 12 ahead of Benjamin Thomas (France).

Archibald, on the other hand, went into the points race at the head of the standings. The 22-year-old produced solid displays in the scratch race and tempo race but stole the show in the elimination as she soloed away from the remaining riders over the final four laps. Archibald took an early lap in the points race, but with her was Wild, and she needed to consolidate in the intermediate sprints to make absolutely sure of winning the title.

The new European champions 

Individual sprint

Pavel Yakushevskiy (Russia)
Simona Krupeckaite (Lithuania)

Keirin

Tomas Babek (Czech Republic)
Liubov Basova (Ukraine)

Team sprint

Anastasiia Voinova and Daria Shmeleva (Russia)
Maciej Bielecki, Kamil Kuczynski, and Mateusz Rudyk (Poland)

Individual Pursuit

Corentin Ermenault (France)
Katie Archibald (Great Britain)

Team Pursuit

France (Thomas Denis, Corentin Ermenault, Florian Maitre, Benjamin Thomas)
Italy (Tatiana Guderzo, Simona Frapporti, Francesca Pattaro and Silvia Valsecchi)

Time trial (Men 1km, Women 500m)

Quentin Lafargue (France)
Daria Shmeleva (Russia)

Points Race

Niklas Larsen (Denmark)
Kirsten Wild (Netherlands)

Scratch Race

Gael Suter (Switzerland)
Ausrine Trebaite (Lithuania)

Madison

Sebastian Mora and Alberto Torres (Spain)
Jolien D'Hoore and Lotte Kopecky (Belgium)

Omnium

Albert Torres (Spain)
Katie Archibald (Great Britain)

Elimination Race

Loic Perizzolo (Switzerland)
Kirsten Wild (Netherlands)

Stayer (Men's only)

Stefan Schafer (Germany)

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